Angela Harris is the host of perhaps one of the most interesting Internet radio book shows around. I have been a guest on the show and I think that, although she would probably deny this out of modesty, her show has the best guests and some of the best co-hosts around. Two of my favourite writers, Mike Walsh and Gordon Osmond, are constantly on the interviewer’s side of the table. Three best-selling writers all sitting down to talk books with a fresh and interesting writer as a guest. I think that’s a winner. I just knew I had to ask Angie onto Novel Ideas for a chat. Now, sit back and enjoy yourselves as the interviewer interviews the interviewer… Yee Haw!
Q) Hi again, Angela!
A) Hi there, Nick.
Q) Let me start by asking how you feel about this world of writing? Do you still enjoy the fact that you are a published AND selling writer?
A) I love writing. I always have. It has just recently encompassed a great deal more than it once did to me. Before becoming published, the most important part of writing was the writing itself and editing.
After being published, I was thrown into a world of marketing and selling. Suddenly, the components to being a published and selling author, were much larger and more demanding than just writing for pleasure.
Q) How did the writing world meet your overall expectations? Do you think you have found a comfortable niche for your work?
A) It is a much bigger world than I anticipated it to be, but I do think that I have managed to find a comfortable place within the process and have managed to find time to do that, along with still having time to write.
Q) I take it at first you didn’t realise how time consuming promotion could be? Did you believe the publishing company would take care of it? That’s a misconception many newbie writers believe and I just wondered if you also believed that at first, too.
A) I knew that I would be involved within the process, but believed that I would have more help with the task, yes. But luckily, I have a strong technical background. That has helped me to promote a great deal
I have also learned the ropes around many social sites which has helped to spread the word about the publication of my books and helps to sell them as well.
Q) You are also the host of a very popular weekly radio internet show called The Weekly BookClub Webinar. Tell me, how did that come about?
A) It is a wonderful way of combining modern technology with a traditional type of club. We sample a new book each week by a different author. Then, every Saturday afternoon at 2:30 ET we join each other via use of our computers or phones to discuss what we have read during the week. We have the use of the webcam and microphones and are able to share documents, presentations, videos and many more things. But one of the most interesting aspects to our show is that the author of the book which we are discussing is present at the discussion for the audience to pose comments and questions to them directly.
I was looking for a fun way to help bring authors together with their audience– a new way of doing things that might spark interest on all sides, both authors and readers. I thought that this was a rather fresh and innovative approach to do just that.
Q) I think it proves that you are a forward thinker. Would you agree with that statement? Are you someone who makes their own breaks?
A) Yes. I guess I do. I have never been someone to wait for things to happen. I find a way to make them happen. When I seek answers to an obstacle and find no answers, I try to create my own solution.
Q) Do you use the same approach with your writing? If you get writer’s block, for example, do you just create your own solution?
A) It would depend on the form of blockage. If it is a hangup that involves the creation of names or something of that nature, I will seek outside help most times. If it is an issue with a storyline blockage, sometimes I have to walk away for a few days to let the story fester. Eventually, the blockage works itself out and things begin to flow again, but there have been times when I have written myself into a corner, so to speak, and had to create a solution for it within the storyline.
Q) How do you approach writing itself? Is it something you have to be in the mood to do or do you just do a bit everyday?
A) I try to write only when I am in the mood for it or the content sometimes feels forced. Although, there are always times when you are on a deadline and you are forced to write whether you are in the mood to do so or not. Most times, if I find myself in that scenario, I will write something that does not require a great deal of imagination, something which is more factual, and go back to the creative pieces later.
Q) Writing is a tool that has to be sharpened. Would you agree with that statement?
A) Yes, I do agree with that. It is something which is also shaped through progression. I have found that the more I write, the more I learn about how to improve my own skills. I am always looking for ways to spice up my writing, and am constantly learning new techniques by me fellow authors. I have seen a steady improvement within my own writing as I write more frequently now than I used to before being published.
Q) What would you say is the most fulfilling thing about your work? What really makes you happy about being a writer?
A) I guess for me, it is not the sales of the book, but rather, the feedback and enthusiasm that I receive from those who have read my books. I work at a high school and one of my books is located there within the library. I have students come to me quite frequently to tell me how much they enjoyed the book and are waiting for the next one to come out, or ask me about certain elements of the book which they did not understand, or just get excited about the writing process and are seeking advice for the own ventures. That is what drives me to write. It is the satisfaction which I get for doing so.
Q) So let’s talk about your work! Which of all your books is your personal favourite?
A) That would be a toss up between The Realm and Momma’s Little Helpers. The Realm is my first novel and leap into the world of fantasy which I absolutely love. The story is captivating and keeps me excited about writing. Momma’s Little Helpers is a children’s book which I began writing when I found out that my mother was ill. It has personal sentiment, and is a wonderful story for young children that relays a great deal of wonderful and valuable lessons.
Q) How are people taking to your work?
A) Momma’s Little Helpers has been published for about two months now. People are taking a strong liking to the book and the characters within it. The Realm has definitely met my expectations and gains popularity each day. I am stopped by people constantly to tell me how much they enjoy it and are looking forward to Vanya’s Quest (the sequel). The Realm has gained enough attention that a filming was arranged of a book reading and interview that I had done locally and was aired on Northwest Access TV. And I will be on a local news segment this month called Books Over Breakfast to discuss it and my upcoming novel Vanya’s Quest which is the second in the series. It has surpassed my expectations.
Q) I think we can all safely say that both of your books are excellent and I am so glad that readers are taking to them with such a passion! I have one last question for you, Angela. What would your advice be to a disheartened writer who can’t find a market for his/ her work?
A) Discouragement can be (and most times is) a part of the process. But it is not a definitive end. Many people these days have turned to self-publishing and marketing of their own material. Many well-known authors have begun their careers in this manner. Become an advocate to market yourself. I do all of my own marketing and promotions for the most part, and all of the routes which I have taken have been free of cost to me. Create a website, book trailers, and author pages online. Use social sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to help market your book as well as sites like Shelfari and Goodreads. Set up a local book reading/signing somewhere and invite members of your community to attend. It will not take long for word to get out. Particularly if you have something worth sharing.
Make sure you catch Angela on her radio show! Join the Facebook page for updates. I think an hour with Angela, Mike and Gordon will really cheer you up! Fun, frolics and books!